pregnant: how a sonogram image changed an older moth

“I look at the sonogram screen and am shocked to see the baby has arms and a
head,” she wrote.

BY Christine Dhanagom

May 4, 2012 ( – In a profound testimony to the power of
ultrasound images, a contributor tells the story of how she
came to terms with an unexpected first pregnancy at the age of 42, after
wrestling with the temptation to have an abortion.

The writer, who identifies herself as “Nancy,” has two daughters that
she and her husband adopted from China after years of unsuccessful fertility
treatments had left them still childless in their late thirties. “Neither
of us felt strongly about seeing our genes played out in a child,” she
wrote, adding that she had “never been a baby person…Somehow adoption
just suited us, and I’ve always been proud of our mixed-race family.”

When she found herself expecting a few years after adopting their second
child, Nancy was unable to share the instinctive joy of her gynecologist,
who exclaimed that her pregnancy was a miracle and proposed champagne. At
the time, she says, she felt unequipped to care for a third child, one who
would be her first newborn, since both girls had been older babies at the
time of the adoption.

“Our 2-year-old, Bea, still wakes up several times a night,” she writes.
“Whenever I drag myself out of bed to comfort her, I can’t help but
think how much harder a newborn would be. How will this aging body care for
a baby?”

Her husband, John, shared her inner turmoil over the pregnancy. Both of them
felt that their family was complete and that a biological child would now
seem “an intrusion, a strange add-on” to their multicultural family.

Despite her conviction that abortion felt like “the right thing to do,”
she says she noticed “hesitation” and “strain” in the faces of her
post-abortive friends when she reached out for support.

Ultimately, though, it was the “termination consultation” at the
abortion clinic that was the turning point for her.

“Two minutes into the conversation, I know I don’t have the heart to go
through with an abortion,” Nancy writes. “Maybe I never did. I look at
the sonogram screen and am shocked to see the baby has arms and a head. Four
weeks ago, in my doctor’s office, it looked like a grain of rice. I walk
out into the sunshine and realize I’m having another child.”

Two weeks later, she says, she was packing up old clothes to give away to
charity, when her daughter Roma protested that they needed to save some of
the items for the baby. They had not yet told the little girl about the

“Everything is going to be okay. More than okay,” she concludes.
“Blessed? I think so.”

While similar stories are repeated thousands of times a year in Crisis
Pregnancy Centers across the country, not all women are fortunate enough to
have the opportunity to view an ultrasound once they have entered the doors
of an abortion clinic. At least 24 states have some form of legislation
regulating the use of ultrasounds during abortion procedures, but
requirements vary widely.

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A recently enacted Virginia law requires abortion-minded women to undergo an
ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, and be given the
opportunity to view the ultrasound image. In Arkansas, however, physicians
are only required to inform a woman of her right to view the ultrasound
image if they are planning to use the technology while performing the

Opponents of such legislation argue that women who have come to an abortion
clinic have already made up their minds and do not need further information.

However, according to Americans United for Life (AUL), a pro-life
organization that has been at the forefront of supporting ultrasound
legislation, Nancy’s account is one of many compelling anecdotes that
reveals the powerful impact ultrasounds can have on a woman’s decision,
even when administered at an abortion clinic.

“Mothers know the power of an ultrasound,” AUL spokesperson Kristi
Hamrick told “Women, when they see their unborn child,
can feel a great love for them and connection with them, and that does
influence their decision making.”

She added that the organization supports ultrasound legislation not just
because it changes women’s minds about abortion but because it protects
women’s health by diagnosing potentially serious medical conditions, such
as ectopic pregnancies.

Michelle Joseph
t. 011 648 5860
m. 082 609 6919

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